Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Terry’s Top 10: Kid-friendly things to do in Myrtle Beach
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans offer family fun as summer winds down.

Things To Do
Terry’s Top 10: Kid-friendly things to do in Myrtle Beach

By Terry Massey

Myrtle Beach, SC | It's the three words that parents love and kids hate the most – Back to School. Hard to believe it's that time of year already, but it doesn't have to mean an end to the summer fun. There are still plenty of fun activities you can do with the little ones to give them a break from the back-to-school blues. If anything, it means there are smaller crowds and shorter lines at the kids-friendly places around town. Here's my top 10 fun things to do with the young ones while it's still technically summer:

10) The local water parks close in September so the clock is ticking on that promise to visit one this summer. Myrtle Waves and Wild Water & Wheels offer afternoon specials with reduced admission after 3 p.m., just enough time to pick them up at school and make a run for the wave pools and water slides. What better way to reward a kid for spending eight tough hours at school, and what better way to get them good and worn out so they'll go to bed early that evening?

9) Like most kids, my favorite kind of golf involves windmills and waterfalls and hitting the ball in the clown's mouth. But playing putt-putt in the summer can be a drag – play one hole then wait 10 minutes in the summer heat for the four foursomes ahead of you to play. But not this time of year. The Myrtle Beach miniature courses see a serious decrease in traffic during this time of year and some even offer discounts off their summer rates. It's a great bribe to get the kids to do their homework.

8) OK, so learning may be the last thing your kid wants to do after he gets out of school, but the Children's Museum of South Carolina in Myrtle Beach makes learning so fun that they won't realize they're doing it. The center, located on the old Myrtle Beach Mall site, features hands-on activities that allow your little ones to play with a purpose. CMSC is open on weekdays and Saturdays and features different programs daily and a monthly community night in the evenings. Check it out.

7) The boys of summer are quickly fading away toward fall so it's your last chance to catch some baseball. OK, actually six more chances. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans have three games left in August (24-26) and three in September (4-6) and then you'll have to wait until next April to take the kids out to the ballgame. Aug. 25 is Webkinz Wednesday, when the kids receive a free koala bear doll, and Sept. 5 and 6 (Labor Day weekend) features fireworks after the game.

6) Speaking of fireworks, the pyrotechnics displays that are a nightly occurance during the summer are becoming less and less common as the season goes forward. Broadway at the Beach concludes its regular Tuesday night fireworks shows on Aug. 31, although the 10 p.m. start time may be too late for the little ones on a school night, and puts on the last display Sunday, Sept. 5. Second Avenue Pier puts on its last light show on Saturday, Sept. 4. Last call to catch one.

5) The fifth annual Beach, Boogie and BBQ festival will be held Labor Day weekend at Market Common but there's fun for the kids who haven't yet gained an appreciation for any of the three title events. The festival features a Kids Zone area with numerous activities – bouncy houses, rock walls and other fun stuff for the ankle-biters – and Saturday will see a visit from every kids' heroes – SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick. You may not know who they are, but your kids will.

4) The Grand Strand is fortunate to have two oceanfront state parks in our backyard but a lot of local kids never get to visit. Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park are great places for children not only to enjoy the sun, surf and sand but also learn about the unique coastal environment we call home. Both feature nature centers that teach kids about sea turtles, alligators, birds and fish of our area without being hit over the head with it. It's proof that learning can be fun.

3) Now that the crowds have disappeared downtown, it's a lot easier to take your crew to Family Kingdon for some real amusement park fun. The kids can ride the roller coasters and other attractions without having to wait in long lines and the Family Kingdom Water Park still features all the water-soaked fun in the sun of summer but without the traffic. But you'd better hurry – the water park shuts down on Aug. 29 and the amusement park closes on Sept. 25. Hit it while you still can.

2) It still amazes me how many Grand Strand locals still don't realize that we have a local zoo. Hidden in the wilds of Socastee, the Waccatee Zoo features a surprising number and array of exotic animals – elephants, lions, tigers, camels and kangaroos – plus some more common farm types the kids can pet and feed – like goats and birds. The rustic setting has dirt trails through the wooded area where kids and adults can explore and check out critters they've only seen in books.

1) The best place to take your kids this time of year never closes and never involves an admission fee. Too many local kids go through life like their parents, taking the beach for granted because it's so close and convenient, but it's the perfect place for them to dig, play, swim, surf, boogie-board and build sandcastles without needing a single TV or video game. Now that the humidity is starting to break, do you and your children a favor and spend an afternoon playing in nature's sandbox and waterpark.